Category Archives: Life

A Response To “I love being naked!”

Note: The language in this post could be called “Explicit” so reader discretion is advised.

As followers of my blog know, I write about nudity. For example:

Nudity was reserved for the bedroom or the bathroom. So it was… interesting… to be naked in a room that was neither. Walking around the living room, I felt like I was seeing it with new eyes. I felt like, all my life, I had been wearing a “Clothes Filter,” and now the filter was off. My eyes were as naked as my body.
~Being Naked Outside

Because of my Catholic faith, I don’t want to shy away from subjects like nudity. As a Catholic, I’m supposed to be a light in a dark place:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~Matthew 5:14 — 16

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And that means talking about subjects considered by many to be taboo or indecent.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered weeks ago but, for the longest time, was not sure how to feel about. Until now.

Specifically, I’m talking about this blog post: I love being naked!

Below are excerpts from that post, and my thoughts on them:

…it’s such an awesome feeling. Having nothing touching your skin. Being able to touch anything you wanna touch, with nothing in the way. It’s looooove.

I understand. And I agree.

Being naked can be an awesome feeling. It can be nice to have nothing touching your skin. To be completely free.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
~Genesis 1:31

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
~Genesis 2:25

It’s so sexy! Cuz that’s obviously what it’s all about. Being naked turns me on. Like big time. It makes me wanna touch myself all over all the time. And sometimes I do.

Once again: Perfectly understandable.

When you are naked, not only are you showing all of yourself, your body is preparing to give all of itself.

What do I mean? I mean this: Sex is an act of giving. The woman receives the man. The man enters the woman. The two become one.

“…a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
~Genesis 2:24

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That’s why you want to sexually excite yourself when you’re naked: Your naked body is telling you “It’s time for sex.”

…I can get myself so increeeeeeeedibly turned on I can barely get myself to stop being naked any more.

There’s an old saying: “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.”

I don’t say that to come across as the stereotypical religious scold…

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…I say that to tell you, belle noowelleDon’t allow your nudity to become too much of a good thing.

There could come a day when you regret the choice to be naked.

And I don’t want that day to come.

I want being naked to be something that changes your life for the better in ways that you continue to discover throughout your long and happy life.

I know that might sound corny, but it’s true. I want you to be happy, belle noowelle.

Being naked is so cool. It helps with getting naughty, it makes me feel sexy, and it makes lame Sundays so much more interesting. Try it!

belle noowelle, your honesty and openness is attractive.

You don’t have to be naked to come across as sexy. You are sexy by just being your unashamed and positive self.

What I’m trying to say is: You’ve found something that brings you joy, and you want to share that joy with others, so that they may have what you have. And, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than that.

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To conclude this post:

belle noowelle,

May being naked continue to bring you a feeling of freedom.

May your orgasms always be shattering.

May the people in your life always look beyond your naked body, appreciating your naked soul, too.

And, when all is said and done, may you look back on the life you have lived with no regrets, knowing that all the choices you made ultimately brought you to where you wanted to be, even if you didn’t know where it was that you wanted to be.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”
~Ecclesiastes 3:11

~21stCenturyCatholic

Why I Have Mixed Feelings About “Life Is Strange: Before The Storm”

Life Is Strange (2015) is my favorite video game, and one of my favorite stories, ever.

So when a prequel —  Life Is Strange: Before The Storm — was announced at E3 2017…

…a part of me screamed “Yes!” while another part moaned “No!”

Why?

Well, as Cracked put it: The past was more interesting before we saw it happen.

When a magician hears the audience gasp and say, “How’d he do that?” he does not turn around and loudly announce, “Oh, the rabbit’s in my assistant’s ass.” Similarly, professional writers know that there are some questions that their audience doesn’t want answered, even though they think they do. Like a magician, a writer wants his audience to live in that space between knowing and wanting to know. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Having watched the trailer three times, my feelings towards it are more positive than they were on my first watch. For example: Before The Storm seems to be delving into Chloe’s psyche through the use of nightmares — Chloe dreams she is in the car on the day of her dad’s accident — like Life Is Strange did with Max near the end of Episode 5. (Max’s nightmare being one of my favorite sections of that game.) But… but…

sigh

You know the airport fight in Godzilla (2014)? The fight that you never saw happen?

Here’s why I’m ultimately glad Gareth Edwards cut away right before Godzilla and the MUTO went at it: The fight I imagine will  be superior to the fight I see.

And it’s the same with Before The Storm: The story I imagine will be superior to the story I see.

Another aspect of Before The Storm that has me thinking Don’t do that is the crow imagery:

Life is Strange21

Depending on who you talk to, crows are considered bad luck. And Chloe, to put it lightly, could be called unlucky.

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The crow imagery reminds me of the Chosen One prophecy in the “Star Wars” prequels.

Thanks to the prequels, now in Return of the Jedi the Emperor’s death isn’t the result of Darth Vader choosing to save his son’s life — it’s the fulfillment of a prophecy.

The crow imagery has the potential to change Chloe’s death in Life Is Strange from a tragic accident…

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…to the cruel, calculated machinations of the universe: The universe has it out for Chloe, and won’t stop until she loses everything — her dad, her best friend and, finally, her life.

Which would make sense, given what we hear in Life Is Strange:

Image result for life is strange chloe punished by the universe

But still: I would rather have Chloe’s death be an accident, not the fulfillment of the universe’s sadistic plan for one Arcadia Bay teen.

One reason why: Chloe’s fate being set in stone — if the crow imagery is anything to judge by — robs the “Life Is Strange” series of one of its most thought-provoking attributes: Choice.

Image result for life is strange whoever said we had a single fate

At the end of Life Is Strange, Chloe could have “forced” Max to make one choice or another by, for example, putting her step-dad’s gun to Max’s head and telling her “Don’t go back in time and allow me to die.” But she didn’t. Chloe chose to allow Max to make her own choice. Ultimately, it was free will, not fate, that killed Chloe.

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Of course, all of this is just a reaction to the first trailer. I’ll have to play the game in its entirety before I have the… big picture.

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But I’m praying like Kate Marsh that Beyond The Storm isn’t what I fear it is.

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A Conversation With “The Closet Atheist”

Thank you to The Closet Atheist for her questions.

And thank you to The Closet Atheist for answering my questions. You can find her answers here.

The reason for this post is: I was feeling bored and curious one day so, wanting to make the best use of my time, I decided to reach out to The Closet Atheist in order to better understand where she’s coming from, and she did the same.

Below are my answers to the questions she asked me.

1. Why are you Catholic and not another denomination?

I was raised a Catholic.

Going to church, praying alone in my room, following the 10 Commandments — these actions, and the mindset that came with them, were as natural to me as wearing clothes, bathing, or brushing my teeth. They were something I did for the sake of my well-being, and because to not do them just felt wrong.

Now, as an adult out in the world, separated from the Catholic cocoon I grew up in, my faith remains an integral part of my life, influencing my thoughts and choices.

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More about my faith in questions #2 and #4.

The reason I am not another denomination is:

I haven’t seen compelling evidence to show that another denomination, not the Catholic Church, is the “correct” expression of Jesus’ teachings.

For example: The Protestant Reformation lasted from 1517 — 1648. (Thanks, Google.) So, going by Jesus’ words to Peter — Matthew 16:18 — that means that, if any one of those Protestant churches established in the wake of the Reformation is the “true” Church, than Jesus waited 16 centuries to establish his church. And I just don’t see the reasoning in that. When Jesus says “On this rock I will build my church,” does that not imply that Jesus is building his church on this rock right then, not more than 1,500 years later?

Through apostolic succession, the Catholic Church can trace its origin back to Peter.* Which is something that Protestant churches, established more than 1,500 years after Peter’s time, can’t do.

2. Why do people sometimes say that Catholicism is a separate religion from Christianity rather than just a denomination within it?

I have not heard that before — that Catholicism is its own separate, non-Christian religion.

Regarding why people would say such a thing: I don’t know.

Skimming The Catechism of the Catholic Church, it’s clear that a foundation of the Catholic Church is the teachings found in the Bible. So this claim of Catholicism being “a separate religion from Christianity,” as far as I can tell, has no legs to stand on.

When it comes to Catholicism’s relationship to Christian denominations such as Lutheranism, Calvinism, Presbyterianism, etc., here is how I see it:

Picture a tree. Picture the trunk and the branches going up and up and up. The Catholic Church is the trunk, and the denominations (like Lutheranism and Presbyterianism) are the branches. Being offshoots, they wouldn’t exist without the trunk.**

3. If there was one thing you wish that Christians today would or wouldn’t do, or something you wish they understood about Christianity and what it means to be a Christian, what would it be?

I wish that Christians today wouldn’t conflate faith with politics.

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I’ve been called a communist because I said that if I had to choose between saving one person from Hell or saving America, I would choose to save that one person. After all: Countries don’t last forever, but the soul does.

Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all nations,” not “Go and win an election.” (Matthew 28:19)

4. If you had a teenage or young adult child that told you that he or she is not a Christian, how would you respond to them?

I would be proud of them.

Why?

Because: Such an act would show that they were using their brains, not just accepting what they were taught because it’s what was expected of them.

The Bible encourages one to use their brain:

“Test everything. Hold fast to what is good.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:21

“…be as shrewd as serpents…”
~Matthew 10:16

I would be glad that this young person is testing everything and being as shrewd as a serpent. The fact that, as a result, this person is now an atheist, would not bother me.

What would bother me is if this person, as a result of becoming an atheist, did not keep an open mind — if this person refused to hear or consider reasons to believe in a god. And I would be just as bothered by someone who did believe in a god refusing to ever consider the possibility that there isn’t one.

Why?

Faith.

Faith, by its nature, requires uncertainty, however small.

That’s why the Bible — Hebrews 11:1 — says that faith is “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”*** (Emphasis mine.)

The fact of the matter is: Regardless of how strongly I believe there is a god, and regardless of what I see as evidence for the existence of a god, until I die and either enter the void or stand in front of the pearly gates, I won’t know, with certainty, if a god exists.

UPDATE:

I realize that these words don’t answer your question: If you had a teenage or young adult child that told you that he or she is not a Christian, how would you respond to them?

This is how I would respond:

I wouldn’t mind that they weren’t a Christian.

Not everyone is, and not everyone will be.

Would I want this person to become a Christian? Yes.

But: I have to accept the reality that, for one reason or another, that might not happen.

So instead of beating them over the head with a Bible, I would tell them: “Keep on seeking goodness, truth, and beauty in all things, and one day you will find where that goodness, truth, and beauty comes from.”

5. How do you deal with doubt in terms of God’s existence?

If there is one thing that could cause me to not believe in a God, it is the violence I see in the world nowadays.

Which is one reason why I don’t like watching or reading the news. Knowing that there is nothing I can do to, for example, stop a terrorist attack in Britain, causes me to feel depressed and consider notions that I otherwise wouldn’t. Like committing suicide.

But, like a boomerang returning to the person who threw it, I always find myself returning to my belief in a higher power.

The reason why is: As horrible as the universe is, it’s also beautiful.

Two examples of beauty:

The Incorrupt

There are people who, even after being dead for years, have not decomposed.

For example: Mary of Jesus de León y Delgado, O.P., who died in 1731:

Juan Diego’s tilma

A garment bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was undamaged after a bomb went off next to it.

Virgen de guadalupe1.jpg

In conclusion:

Thank you for your questions, The Closet Atheist. I hope you were satisfied by my answers. And if you were dissatisfied with anything I said, let me know.

I hope the day will soon come where you can leave the closet.

*Apostolic succession: (in Christian thought) the uninterrupted transmission of spiritual authority from the Apostles through successive popes and bishops, taught by the Roman Catholic Church but denied by most Protestants. (Thanks, Google.)

**The Reformation (from Latin reformatio, literally “restoration, renewal”), also referred to as the Protestant Reformation and the European Reformation, was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther, and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th century Europe.
~Wikipedia

***Conviction: a firmly held belief or opinion.

Am I Writing Erotica?

Erotica: Literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.

Lately I’ve found myself writing poems that, I realize, could be classified as erotica.

The reason I say that is: Sexual arousal is a theme that runs through both of them.

And that got me thinking: Oh no.

The reason why is: I don’t want to be some E.L. James type.

I want to be better than that.

I’m not saying that I want to consider myself superior to E.L. James as a person. No one is “superior” to anyone else. We’re all fallible human beings doing the best we can with what we have.

What I am saying is: From a purely literary perspective, I want there to be more to my writing than there is to a novel like 50 Shades of Grey. I want the (potentially) arousing aspects of my writing to point to something more: to not just be arousal for the sake of arousal.

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While I write my poetry, I frequently find myself returning to a quote by Sharon Hodde Miller:

“…a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord! Each womanly part honors Him.”

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What I’m trying to do is show how sexual feelings “proclaim the glory of the Lord!”

My protagonists, as a result of what they are feeling upon laying themselves bare or consenting to another’s touch, are undergoing an awakening. They are realizing that their reality is not as they thought it was and, thus, must choose how to respond.

Blindly

Not wanting to know what I will see, I close my eyes.

Blindly, I lay myself bare.

And I wonder: Is the scream trying to escape my mouth one of pleasure or pain?

A Fire In Her Heart

This night
She screams

In pleasure?
In pain?

And this night
A heart screams a word

“Run!”

On another note:

All art involving nudity or sexuality will be arousing to some extent because that is the nature of nudity and sexuality. If it does not arouse, it is bad art.

Asking a heterosexual man to not feel arousal at the sight of a woman’s naked body is like asking a person to not squint when they try and look directly at the sun.

At the sight of a woman’s body, a man’s willpower tends to melt away like a face that has seen the Ark of the Covenant…

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Fitting, since the Ark, like a woman’s body, is an enclosure for what is holy:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
~1 Corinthians 6:19

Which would explain the need for campaigns like Still Not Asking For It — the sight of a woman’s body can be too much for a man to handle.

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The Awesome Blogger Award

Thank you to Between the lines for nominating me for the Awesome Blogger Award.

About the award:

What is the Awesome Blogger Award?

This award was created by Miss Maggie over at Dreaming of Guatemala! And she says:

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

Rules of this award:

• Thank the person who nominated you. Include the reason behind the award. Include the banner in your post.

• Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.

• Answer the questions your nominator gave you.

• Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.

• Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.

• Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated!

Between the lines’ questions, and my answers:

If every person would be a color, what color would you be?

Blue.

If you could choose a historical period to live in, what would be your choice?

America in the 1980s.

Your favorites 3 songs are…

They are:

What is your first memory?

The earliest I can remember is: Coming home from preschool one day and asking my parents when my 4th birthday would be.

If you could teleport yourself in any place in this world, what would it be your first choice?

Japan.

Did you ever have an imaginary friend?

Yes. A Terminator-esque killer robot called “Plan A.”

What is the color of your eyes?

Brown.

If you’d be a painter, what would it be your favorite theme to paint?

Forests. I would enjoy painting forests.

Your favorite ice cream flavor is…

Cookie dough.

Where do you find inspiration for your blog?

My fellow bloggers inspire me.

My 10 questions:

  1. What is one subject you want to write about, but haven’t yet?
    Or: What is one person, place, or thing, that you want to draw, but haven’t yet?
  2. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  3. What is the last movie you watched?
  4. What is something that is underappreciated?
  5. Dog person? Cat person? Both? Neither?
  6. When was the last time you laughed, and why?
  7. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  8. Would you go skydiving?
  9. What is one thing you are thankful for right now?
  10. If people could only know one thing about you, what would you want them to know?

I nominate:

All About Anime

Confessions Of A Reborn Girl

The Crazy Bag Lady

M&M Millennials

Iheartlife

Melancholy

“Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption.”
~Pope John Paul II — Letter to Artists

Sehnsucht: “Tender, wistful, and/or melancholic desire; yearning, longing.”

I’ve been feeling melancholic lately.

The reason why is: Once again, I find myself stuck in a rut.

My circumstances being what they are, my foreseeable future sees me continuing to work at a grocery store stocking shelves and pricing items and saving up my money for future endeavors.

On the one hand, I’m happy:

I’d spent months vacillating about whether or not to return to college. And, when I was recently made more aware of my financial situation earlier this month, that put an end to my indecisiveness. I wouldn’t be returning to college. At least, not for a long time.

On the other hand, I’m sad:

I see my family and friends going off and doing so many amazing things with their lives, and I can’t help but feel trapped.

I know I’m not the same person I was 4 years ago — before I went to college and before I made the decision to come home.

For example: Now I feel like I know what I want to do with my life: Be a screenwriter.

But it’s hard not to feel that I haven’t grown or, worse, regressed.

And that fear makes me think: As a Catholic, am I supposed to be melancholic? Is there a place for sadness in the life of a follower of Jesus?

After all: I’m a bringer of the Good News: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'” (Mark 16:15)

How can I be sad?

sigh

I can be sad because I’m only human.

“‘You can’t go home again’ said Thomas Wolfe. Yet here I am.”
~Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

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“I’m somewhere
You’re somewhere
I’m nowhere
You’re nowhere”
~Angus & Julia Stone

The College Dropout Survival Guide

Note: Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix. Her post Self-Care Isn’t Selfish is what inspired me to write this post.

It’s now been 3 years since I made the choice to come home after my second semester of university.

Bad grades, combined with not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, made me realize I need time to get my head on straight.

Coming home was a choice that almost killed me.

So, in this post, I want to share with you what I have done in order to keep myself motivated to get out of bed in the morning:

Get a job. I initially balked at the prospect of getting a job. But I knew I had to do it — I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life on the couch, living off the charity of others. So, despite the grumbling of that lazy, entitled, refuse-to-take-responsibility part of myself, when a job opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. And I am so glad I did. Sure, my work could use improvement. More than once, my boss has expressed disappointment at my performance. But, I keep at it. And I figure that as long as the paychecks keep coming, than I must be doing something right.

I’m not at Kiki levels of productivity…

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

…but I’m getting there.

Plus, if nothing else: My job allowed me to have enough money to get an Xbox One after my Xbox 360 got the Red Ring of Death.

Have a spiritual life. If you’re spiritual/religious than, if you don’t already, get in the habit of praying at least twice a day — a prayer before you go to sleep and a prayer right after you wake up.

Even if it’s only 5 seconds long and consists of two words — “Hi, (insert name of higher power here).” — praying will do you good.

As the name of my blog implies, I’m a Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic faith and, so far, my faith hasn’t let me down.

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Star Wars (1977)

Realize that you aren’t alone. Chances are that if you’re reading this post, you’re in a similar position: You’re not in college and are wondering What the deuce do I do now?

Well, one of the ways to not despair is to know that you aren’t struggling alone. There are people who have gone through, or are going through, what you are, and either they need you to help them, you need their help, or both.

After all: In order to slay the Kaiju that is Despair, you can’t do it alone…

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Pacific Rim (2013)

(I picked Crimson Typhoon because, even though it does get destroyed, I think it’s the coolest Jaeger.)

Surround yourself with beautiful things. I don’t know about you, but: The 24-hour news cycle of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, presidential incompetence, rapes, and murders depresses me. It makes me ask the one question I never want to find myself asking: Should I keep on living?

So, what do I do? I focus on the good in life instead.

For example:

Instead of scratching my head over Donald Trump’s latest tweet…

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…I listen to my favorite song instead:

It’s much more relaxing.

Do what you love. I’m currently teaching myself how to write screenplays.

I’m doing this because I discovered that, in my free time, I would frequently read film reviews. There was just something about the reviews by Steven Greydanus and Jeffrey Overstreet that hooked me. That kindled within me a passion for film. A passion to not just critique art, but create it. Because anyone can criticize. But not everyone can create.

Lately that passion to create has, unfortunately, been fueled by anger at the incompetence of fellow Christian film enthusiasts…

…reviewers are sadly out of touch with ticket buyers. In fact, they are so far out of touch that most of them pick only one blockbuster movie, and many mediocre “independent” movies and boring foreign language movies that appeal to only a few moviegoers.
~WAR ROOM’s A+ cinemascore tells the story

…but still: I’m glad to be doing something I love. Even if it can be hard.

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And:

Love yourself.

You’re not perfect.

You’ve failed before, and you’re going to fail again.

But is that going to be the end of you?

No.

Why?

Because: You love yourself, flaws and all.

You know that what you have to offer the universe is unique.

And you know that it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you let life get away with sucker-punching you.

Woman9